Nutritionist Victoria Greaves gives advice on a fertility diet and the top foods to eat if you're trying to get pregnant.
If you’re already expecting then you may know what to eat during your pregnancy, but eating the right foods while you’re trying to conceive is just as important. And it’s not just up to you to watch what you eat – it’s just as important for your partner too.
What you and your partner eat can have a big impact on how easily and quickly you fall pregnant. Here, nutritionist Victoria Greaves explains what you and your partner should eat if you’re trying for a baby.
Fertility boosting food: Eight-a-day
Getting your five-a-day is always important for your overall health but when you’re trying to get pregnant it’s even more important for you and the health of your baby. It’s good to actually try to eat eight portions of organic fruit and veg daily Victoria explains, saying, ‘These contain low levels of pesticides and have higher nutritional content than non-organic.’ She also suggests switching all animal produce over to organic, too as ‘non-organic meat and dairy products contain growth hormones and antibiotics.’
Fertility boosting food: Wholegains
The next switch is ditching all white refined foods in favour of brown wholefoods. It’s estimated that 80 per cent of zinc is removed from wheat to make white bread last longer. This is a problem because zinc deficiencies have been linked to male infertility so make sure you and your partner are eating plenty of nutritious wholegrains like brown rice.
Filling up on fibre from wholegrains, fruit and vegetables is important because it keeps the bowels regular, which is essential for fertility.
Victoria also has a top tip about when to eat. She says, ‘Eat little and often to sustain your blood sugar levels. Excessive drops in blood sugar can release too much adrenaline and this may block progesterone, which maintains pregnancy.’
Fertility boosting food: Good fats
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to be afraid of fats – just eat the good ones. That’s things like oily fish (mackerel, salmon etc), avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Your new fertility-boosting shopping list
If you’re wondering what to pick up next time you’re at the shops then Victoria suggests starting with packing your trolley full of iron and folate-rich foods. Here’s what to look for:
- Wholemeal bread
- Baked beans
- Fortified cereal
- Dried fruit such as apricots and figs
- Green vegetables
- Green vegetables
- Brown fortified bread and cereals
- Beans and pulses
- Shellfish – but stop eating shellfish once you are pregnant
Fertility boosting drinks
The liquids you drink are almost as important as the food you eat while you’re trying to get pregnant. Victoria says, ‘Drink eight glasses of filtered water or herbal/fruit teas to help flush out excess toxins and cut out caffeine in all its forms – coffee, strong tea and chocolate. It’s been linked to low fertility.’
When you’re trying to conceive it can also be a good idea to up your intake of vitamins and minerals, to make sure you’re getting just the right amount of nutrients. Use the table below to work out what you could be getting a bit more of here and there, and the best foods to try, too.
|Vitamin||Benefits||Daily dose||Foods to eat|
|Zinc||All-round essential for fertility
Zinc ensures the production of good-quality sperm
Can reduce the chance of miscarriage
|B6||Helps to balance hormones||50mg||Sunflower seeds
|B12||Needed for cellular reproduction
Can increase sperm count
|Selenium||An antioxidant that can increase male fertility
Prevents chromosome breakage, which can cause miscarriage
Sunflower seeds Raisins
|Vitamin C||Increases sperm count
Stops sperm from sticking together
Prevents abnormal sperm
|Vitamin E||Increases sperm mobility and ability to penetrate the egg
Can reduce age-related ovulation decline
|Essential Fatty Acids||Can prevent poor sperm mobility, low count or abnormal sperm.
EFAs have also been shown to reduce fibroids and endometriosis
|Eat oily fish 3 times a weeka
Eat nuts and seeds daily
Nuts and seeds